Events Training Conference

Date: October 17 - 18, 2019Time: 8:00 am - 1:15 pm (ET)
Location:  Show map Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs
86 Congress Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Contact: Susan McGuirePhone: 703-998-3572Email:

2019 ACCE Events Training Conference

ACCE's 2019 Events Training Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs, located at 86 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs, New York, on October 17-18, 2019. 

Saratoga Springs is home to famed mineral springs, the historic Saratoga Race Course, the outdoor Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a vibrant and eclectic downtown, and great community events. Our award-winning conference hotel is located in the heart of the downtown area, close to museums, shopping, and restaurants. We look forward to welcoming both newer and more experienced events professionals for a program of workshops, discussion, and networking, including a return of the popular “60 Event Ideas in 60 Minutes” session. 

A pre-conference kick-off reception hosted by the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce will be held on October 16 from 5 – 7 pm. A conference agenda is below. Questions? Contact Susan McGuire.



ACCE members:

$399/early bird (through September 17, 2019)


Non-members: $499

Registration link

Questions about registration? Contact Yodit Gebreyes.



Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs

86 Congress Street

Saratoga SpringsNew York 12866

A limited number of hotel rooms are available at the following rate: $164 s/d

Hotel block cutoff date: September 19, 2019

Reservation link: ACCE 2019 Events Conference



All General Sessions held in State Seal Conference Room

Breakout Session locations TBD


Wednesday, October 16:

5 – 7 p.m.  Welcome reception

Join fellow conference participants at Druthers Brewing Company, located at 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Sponsored by the Saratoga Springs County Chamber of Commerce


Thursday, October 17

Optional fun! Join us for a early morning behind-the-scenes tour of the Saratoga Race Course, the oldest sporting venue in the United States, given by Todd Shimkus, CCE, President of the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce. Meet in the lobby of the conference hotel at 7:00 a.m. Tour is complementary; RSVP required. 

8:00 a.m.  Registration opens

Check in and receive conference materials outside of the State Seal Conference Room. Bagels, muffins, and other light breakfast fare provided.

9:00 a.m.  Conference welcome: Todd Shimkus, CCE, President, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce

9:15 – 10:30 a.m.  General session presentation

Growing Your Tourism Economy through Community Events

Facilitated by Todd Shimkus, CCE, President, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce / Presentation slides

Saratoga Springs was once marketed as the "Summer Place to Be." But thanks to organizations like the Saratoga Rowing Association, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Chamber, and the Saratoga Springs City Center, this city of 28,000 now attracts tens of thousands of people year-round through a variety of unique events. The panel will discuss the origin of these events and how they've been developed and marketed to drive up overnight stays and re-brand Saratoga as the place to be 24/7/365. 

10:45 - Noon  General session presentation

Organize, Track, Evaluate, Improve: Tools for Successful Events

Jodi Owczarski, Vice President, and Colleen Schipsi, Program Manager, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce / Presentation slides

No pressure but … people often measure the value of their chamber membership with the programs and events it offers. Now we have to live up to those expectations! Using some simple tools, you can see objectively what’s working, what areas need to be improved, and what you may need to stop doing altogether. Struggling with keeping track of all that needs to be done or who’s doing what? There’s a tool for that too! Join the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce team as they share the tools that have helped them eliminate tired events, make successful events even better, and take their programming to the next level. 

Noon – 1:00 p.m. Lunch buffet with table talk topics

Enjoy a buffet lunch with your chamber event peers and friends, old and new. We’ll provide table talk topics to get conversations, networking, and information exchange started – or just relax and get to know one another.

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Breakouts

Breakout 1: Listen First: Transforming the Event Sponsorship Process

Calli Turner, Manager of Events and Member Programming, Little Rock Regional Chamber

In this workshop, learn how the Little Rock Chamber increased sponsorship revenue and built deeper, more lasting relationships with their investors by first listening to them to understand their goals and then working with them to identify – and sometimes create - the right sponsorship opportunities. Learn how to identify potential sponsors, listen and ask the right questions, and work with them to craft opportunities to help them reach their goals. Small-group discussion will be included in this session.

Breakout 2:  Intercity Visits that Drive Positive Community Change

Lynda Amato Bebrowsky, Executive Vice President of Membership & Engagement, Commerce Lexington Inc. / Presentation slides / Sample budget / Sample sponsorship guide

Commerce Lexington Inc.’s annual Leadership Visit is the longest-running program of its kind in the nation and thought to be among the largest, with nearly 200 business, education, government and community leaders taking part each year. A significant revenue generator for the chamber, this three-day trip has also become an invaluable opportunity for community leaders and decision makers to study successful and innovative ideas developed by other communities and apply the best of what they learn to improve the Bluegrass region. In this session, Lynda Bebrowsky will present what it takes to plan and implement a profitable intercity visit that results in strategic and impactful changes to your community.

2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Problem-solving roundtables

In small groups organized by topic, discussion leaders will kick off our conversations with ideas and best practices around your toughest event challenges. Bring your ideas, successes, and questions to share. Topics will be selected by polling on-site, and may include 

  • Young Professionals Programs
  • Networking events
  • Speaker resources
  • Event apps and technology
  • Chamber awards programs

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Roundtables on event trends

We’ll finish up the day by focusing on what’s new and what’s next! What event trends should chambers be aware of to remain innovative and relevant? We’ll organize by chamber size to share ideas.

6:30 p.m. Networking dinners (reservations for 6:30 p.m.)

Sign up at registration desk no later than 12 noon. Please meet at selected restaurants. All restaurants are within walking distance of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs.


Friday, October 18

Optional fun! We’ll be up and out early for a running tour of the Saratoga Springs historic district. Meet in the conference hotel lobby at 7:00 a.m.; no signup needed.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Networking breakfast

We have reserved the Skidmore Room for our conference participants to enjoy a full breakfast buffet. Complimentary breakfast tickets will be distributed to participants not staying at the conference hotel. 

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. General session presentation

60 Event Ideas in 60 Minutes

Moderated by Colleen Schipsi, Program Manager, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce

This session will feature YOU, as participants each take one minute to share a great event idea that has worked for their chamber. How many innovative ideas will you leave with after this session? Come and find out! Cash prizes awarded for best ideas!

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  Breakouts/roundtables

Breakout 1: Digital Strategies to Promote Chamber Events

Annamaria Bellantoni, Vice President for Tourism, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce; Sara Mannix, CEO, Mannix Marketing; and Denise Desmond, Owner, Desmond Media & Marketing / Presentation slides

Looking for effective digital strategies to promote your chamber and community events? This panel has the answers! Learn how to expand your outreach, improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), and use social media to maximize attendance and excitement around your events.

Breakout 2: Amplify Inclusion: Planning Diversity and Inclusion Events 

Jejuana Brown, Program Manager, Commission on Economic Inclusion, Greater Cleveland Partnership / Presentation slides

The Commission on Economic Inclusion acts as a convener, advocate, and resource to engage local employers in addressing systemic racial inequalities that hinder economic growth. Its annual Inclusion conference has been held for eleven years. With strong regional support, it features presentations from local, national and international companies and speakers recognized for strategic outcomes driven by diversity and inclusion. In this session, Jejuana Brown will focus on best practices for hosting premier conferences that make inclusion resonate with the business community. 

Noon – 1:15 p.m. General session presentation

Revitalizing the Annual Meeting: Think Outside the Box for Big Ideas and Big Money

Sydney Doctor, Director of Events, Greater Louisville Inc. / Presentation slides

Looking for innovative ways to refresh your annual meeting? Think outside of the box with creative ideas for sponsorship, attendee interactive technology, audio visuals, seating, and more. GLI's annual meeting is the Greater Louisville region's largest business networking event of the year and one of the organization's biggest fundraisers. Hear how they transformed this event over the years by listening to their attendees and focusing on new industry trends.

Optional box lunch provided for this session. If you would like a lunch, please RSVP here by October 10.

1:15 p.m. Conference adjourns



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